Global Warming Poll

I noticed a while back that many of the people who fit roughly into the “global warming skeptic” category don’t disagree entirely with the idea, so I wanted to investigate more deeply. Here are the preliminary results of my poll:

If you don’t believe in Global Warming, why?

A. I do believe, but I don’t admit it because I think libs are trying to use GW for political ends I disagree with
B. I believe, but I want the Earth to get warmer because winter sucks
C. I believe, but I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal/there’s nothing I can do about it
D. I stopped paying attention to environmentalists sometime around 1995 because their predictions always fail to come true
E. People who claim to believe in global warming don’t actually act like they believe it, so I don’t, either
F. I don’t find the science/evidence I’ve seen convincing
G. The Earth is too big for humans to have an effect
H. Something else I will explain in the comments

Thanks to everyone who participated. Many people went into detail about their opinions rather than pick any of the given options, which was great because it helped me see flaws in the poll and get a deeper insight into what people are thinking. In retrospect, C should have been broken into two options and there should have been another option similar to A but is “I don’t believe it because I think libs are just using it to push a political agenda.”

That said, here are the rough results after smooshing people’s responses into the closest categories:

A. Disagree w/ politics: 27
B. Winter sucks: 14
C. No big deal/can’t change: 32
D. Lost credibility: 10
E. Don’t act like they believe it: 11
F. Science: 17
G: Earth too big: 3

Other:
H. Cult: 7
I. Real but not caused by humans: 3
J. It’s real: 4

Qualitatively, rather than quantitatively, I think results broke down into three main categories: 1. disagreement with libs about politics/solutions, 2. personal credibility of the global warming advocates, 3. science.

Under disagreements, many people noted that global warming gets used to advocate almost solely for leftist causes like socialism, while other important solutions are ignored, eg, @CamperWatcher27′s take:

It’s a true scientifically proven crisis, the solution for which just happens to be implementation of every left wing wishlist item. It mandates no policy sacrifice by the left whatsoever, it’s almost too good to be true.

A couple of people noted that often the solutions, like shipping plastic trash to China so it can be burned under the guise of “recycling”, do more harm than good, and many people noted that there is effectively nothing they can do about China’s pollution, eg @laikasrefectory’s opinion:

I do, and I find the evidence convincing, but find fault in where fingers are pointed, and agree that the topic is weaponised. The West could stop all emissions tomorrow and we’d still be fucked thanks to China and India.

Many readers complained that environmentalists aren’t in favor of building more nuclear power plants, limiting immigration, or virtually any other “right wing” position that would also help the environment.

Personal credibility of environmentalists turned out to be more important than I expected. People didn’t just object that global warming advocates don’t actually act like they believe in global warming (I just finished talking to a relative who is both concerned about global warming wiping Florida off the map and preparing to fly around the world for an international vacation), but they also objected on the grounds that global warming is a “cult” or “religion.” (This was a little annoying from the coding perspective because it doesn’t answer the question–believing that Christianity is a religion doesn’t stop Christians from believing in it.) I interpreted these responses, therefore, as “this is a belief system that those people hold an I don’t happen to hold it,” just as I might respond if suddenly put on the spot and asked why I don’t believe in shamanism.

There were also people who remembered fears of “global cooling” in the 70s or had grown weary of the media habit of attributing practically everything bad that happens to “climate change,” even when there’s no way to prove it causally. A good example from @punishedkomrade:

The exaggerated predictions of doom, combined with the unseriousness of “solutions” (eg We need socialism to save the Climate! Ew, not nuclear!) leads me to ignore the issue

Then there’s the science:

This is quite remarkable. You might think that more intelligent people would hold more similar opinions, since we all have access to the same scientific material (more or less). Instead, dumb people take more moderate stances while intelligent people throw themselves toward their tribe’s extreme.

For example, here is @billkristolmeth‘s take on the science:

Explain how a ~400ppm (0.04%) trace gas acts as a “control knob” on global temperature. Explain why CO2 has a greater effect than water vapor.
Explain why models that do not factor in cloud albedo can be considered reliable in long-term prediction of climate.
Explain why solar output is considered generally irrelevant by the model makers despite being measurably variable.
Explain why substantially higher CO2 in the past on Earth did not cause Earth to become a Venus-like hothouse as predicted by some models.
These are the sorts of questions that I eventually started asking as the time to DOOM compressed. Sure the climate changes, it always has. The CO2 hypothesis however is based almost entirely on vastly incomplete models and I find it unconvincing on a basic thermodynamics level.

I believe in global warming (specifically, I believe the claims of climate scientists that the Earth is getting warmer and it is caused by humans), but I can’t answer these questions. I believe because scientists I know in real life respect other scientists who think global warming is real. By contrast, none of the astronomers I know in real life have ever mentioned the sun causing global warming. This is a chain of trust (or authority), not first-hand knowledge and understanding of climate data. I suspect something similar is going on for other people–which science they find credible is determined by which scientists they find credible.

This chain of trust is interesting, because it relates back to different groups of people being, essentially, separate. There are other cases where different groups have different chains of trust–obviously Israelis and Palestinians believe different news sources about the region. There are black communities on the internet that also have their own “science” with its own separate chain of trust, usually centering around claims that melanin has fantastic powers and that white people kidnap black children to harvest their melanin (I think this claim was motivated by confusion about the difference between melanin and melatonin, which you can buy at the store). Native Americans also distrust mainstream science (especially genetics) and don’t include it in their chain of authority, though they don’t tend to replace it with anything in particular.

If you happen not to find any scientists credible (or you just aren’t into science), then your next fallback is judging the kinds of people who advocate for global warming (well, advocate for doing something about it,) and their policy solutions. If the upshot of global warming advocacy in your real life is an “energy and water efficient” clothes washer that has to be run twice for every load of laundry because it doesn’t use enough water to get the soap off, you’re going to be pretty darn skeptical of this whole deal.

Obviously my poll isn’t terribly scientific or accurate, but I think it’s close enough to capture the zeitgeist. So if anyone reading this actually wants to save the planet, then I think the first thing you (and others) should do is disentangle global warming and politics. Don’t make global warming a reason to vote left–this is making the survival of our planet dependent on irrelevant questions like “Do you like gays?” Come up with ideas that appeal to people from both sides of the political aisle, like using nuclear power to achieve energy independence. Second, you need to act like you actually believe it. Stop flying. Stop buying products made in China and shipped across the ocean in great big carbon-belching container ships. Ride your bike to work. Then, maybe, people will take you seriously.

 

24 thoughts on “Global Warming Poll

  1. I believe that warming is real and caused by humans. However the “solutions” ( solar/wind) are actually very harmful.

    And real solutions (nuclear energy) is demonized. Which makes it political power grab with a lot of corruption.

    Do you know that large fossil fuel energy companies are all very on board with global warming hysterics? Precisely because they know demand for their product will grow as solar and wind fail spectacularly( see Germany example)

    The massive LNG buildout is all very harmfull overall, but it’s touted as “green”.

    So all in all problem is power hungry socialist colluding with oligopolies. The global warming is just a convenient vehicle for their agenda.

    Doesn’t mean that warming is not a problem, but effective solutions can not be achieved with current status quo

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I believe in global warming (specifically, I believe the claims of climate scientists that the Earth is getting warmer and it is caused by humans), but I can’t answer these questions. I believe because scientists I know in real life respect other scientists who think global warming is real. By contrast, none of the astronomers I know in real life have ever mentioned the sun causing global warming. This is a chain of trust (or authority), not first-hand knowledge and understanding of climate data.

    Science, being a human endeavor, is subject to (a form of) Goodhart’s Law. “Trust what comes out of the scientific process” creates an incentive to conspire to set the output of the scientific process.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2020/02/09/a-climate-blacklist-that-works-it-should-make-her-unhirable-in-academia

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Several points that relate to your categories:

    (Views are mine)

    1. A lot of effort has been spent on making the claim that “global warming” is happening; next to no effort has been spent making the claim that it is bad. You’re expected to agree that any change in any direction is obviously bad.

    2. Relatedly, Global Warming as a political movement restricts itself almost exclusively to temperature measurements of the very recent past. Early China: A Social and Cultural History (reviewed on this blog) starts things off by noting that the people of early China lived in regions that are rather barren today. They didn’t live in today’s fertile regions because, at the time, those regions were swamps. But the areas they did inhabit worked well — at the time — because ambient temperatures were several degrees higher then than they are now.

    We have much better documentation of two more recent climate swings: the Medieval Warm Period, when things were warmer than they are now, and the Little Ice Age, when things were cooler. The record is clear: the MWP was great for the people living in it, and the Little Ice Age was a disaster.

    3. The arguments deployed to claim that global warming is bad are values-based ones, the same arguments that environmentalists use to claim that anything else is bad. (This is where we could start accusing them of being a “cult”.) As I see things, the basic principles are: (1) Stasis is good; change is bad; moderated by (2) if a change occurs without identifiable human agency, that’s fine, but if a change can be attributed to humans, that change must be stopped.

    This makes no sense. A change is good or bad — in reality — regardless of whether it happened by intentional human effort, side effect of human activity, or coincidence.

    Thought experiment: the Mayans are known to have inhabited much land that is pristine Amazonian jungle today. There is a theory that this reforestation, as the natives died off in the wake of the Columbian Exchange, is largely responsible for the Little Ice Age.

    If this theory were correct, would it be more appropriate, from the environmentalist perspective, to cut down the trees and bring the jungle and the temperatures back to where they used to be, or to say “sure, this is a radical change springing from artificial interventions in the ecology of the 16th century, but that’s no reason to act on the ecology of the 21st century”?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anthropogenic Global Warming is not real due to science itself.
    Climate Change is omnipresent throughout Earth’s entire history.

    You made a very good case for why people believe it: they know someone who knows something, or the media tells them that, or the person is bombarded with studies.
    Reality is, most if not almost all climate scientists are absolutely cluessless about their science, have mispredicted erroneously since they began doing that decades ago and the studies are either bad (most are based on failed computer models) or just manufactured propaganda.

    To learn more,
    Miles Mathis – milesmathis.com
    Youtube – Suspicious0bservers
    Youtube – Dr. Patrick Moore – A Dearth of Carbon?
    Youtube – World In Midst of Carbon Drought (w/ Prof. William Happer, Princeton University)

    Worse than ignorance is miseducation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There is absolutely something happening in the climate: people with decades of data observing animals see changed in when things bloom and migrations happen; idea are melting; winters are generally less wintery in my corner of the world; etc.

    BUT: 1) it seems like the general impact of slow warning isn’t do catastrophic, and it’s not clear if it’s just the Earth’s direction or if it’s anthropogenic, and 2) there are much worse man-made environmental problems, like fertilizer runoff, rainforest deforestation, aquifier depletion (which I learned about from you), etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am thankful for sites like
    https://electroverse.net/
    for showing other sides of the global warming question. they think the sun drives the climate and that we all are about to enter a little ice age due to no sunspots. this due to solar cycles. 30 years plus of Cold!
    yes, probably mankind has affected the weather. but the sun and other factors also affect the weather.

    what i do *not* like about the global warming people is the Religion aspect of it. I define a religion here differently than something of God. I define “religion” as some “ism” that is larger than you, and you need to convert or die and then everything that you do, feel, and think, is dictated to you by it!
    the socialist Left. coupled with global agendas. I am looking at you!

    I notice the ever increasing media presence about the goodness of a Vegan life. “veganism” is now appearing in news articles unrelated to this diet topic, a way of softening us all to the idea that this eating religion is best for us all. with no proof of course that this diet is healthful. and also no proof that carbon credits will actually be saved!

    pure socialism seems to me to infer that true equality would mean that every single person is exactly the same in lifestyles, income, and Talents. then no one can fail, no one will be hurt.

    but i digress, this comment section is about global warming!

    but all of these “isms” come from a now solidifying body of thought and politics, ways of life that will tell us all what to do and without real proof of reality of the ideas behind the movement.
    I read this morning of the death of thousands of sea life on a new Zealand beach. electrovers shows, however, a picture of a tent in Saudi Arabia with this tent and the ground covered with snow
    and 23 degrees F.! the arctic sea ice seems to be growing!

    today is the world war of the mind. maybe this is our war time! seems every 27 years there is a world war danger. us civil war, ww I, ww II, and now it Is Time again for war, in the cycles. but this war might be a mind war, a war for your soul, your loyalties. and you will have to Choose!

    freestone

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Climate change is real. Anthropomorphic CO2 production most likely is not the cause. The climate has always been changing. A root problem that exacerbates many downstream problems is overpopulation, primarily in China, India, and Subsaharan Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Proponents of AGW tacitly assume that the Little Ice Age, which ran from about 1350 AD to 1850 AD, is the climatic norm, whereas it was really a climatic extremum. So, much of the temperature increase since 1850 is likely natural. If, as claimed, it is variations in solar output that caused the LIA and the recent warming, will soon be tested if the current solar minimum continues for another decade or so.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think AGW is true because at every stage I was able to follow, I deemed the critics arguments to be false, wrong, or resulting from misunderstanding of theory. Finally I came at the level where I no longer was able to understand the arguments and counterarguments (why there will be no band saturation?) and at this point I decided that I have to simply choose who has more credibility for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really don’t understand your need to “believe” in something like Climate Change. This is nothing to be believed in, nothing diffuse, like a God or something spiritual. This is hard science and physics. And physics does not care, if you believe in it or not. It just happens and it can be measured. Sorry if this sounds rude, English is not my first language.

    Like

      • Well okay, but you don’t ask people things like: do you believe in daily sunrises or do you believe, this apple will fall down. Because you know it will, it’s a common fact. So there seems to be a difference in the discussion itself.

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  11. Any scientific theory is confirmed by predictions. The theory of relativity was confirmed when the prediction of the curvature of the light during a solar eclipse came true.

    No prediction by climate science has come true. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. In May, I will be 50. When I was 14, I was asked: “What is the problem you care the most?”. I answered “Global warming”. The scientists predicted the apocalypse 20 years down the line (this was about 16 years ago): entire islands under the water and so on and so forth.

    The same catastrophic predictions have been recycled every year since then. We live in the climatic Groundhog’s day. The slogan is always: “five years from now, it will be too late”. But 5 years go by, 10 years, 25 years and never is too late. It will only be too late 5 years from now, where “now” can be 1984 or 2020

    The thing has become a farce during the last years, with phenomens like Greta Thunder and the clown world. The EU telling the plan to go against climate change will be 1 billion euros to be paid handsomely by us. Last November, UN went to the worst cash crisis of its history and I suppose multilateral institutions want to have a reliable source of income

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    • Did “the science” predict catastrophic events or did the media. One example: we had an intense storm last Sunday in Germany. Weather Sience reported beforehand about it as a strong, but normal storm. But in the media, hell broke loose. They wrote about a coming mega-storm and predicted chaos and heavy damage everywhere. After the storm, which was, as weather scientists predicted heavy but not that bad, media complained (!) that the storm was not as severe as expected. This is exactly what is done with scientific data on climate change. Everything gets exaggerated and people are confused.

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      • Szopen, all the UN declarations about climate change were based on scientific data. All the catastrophes predicted were based on the consensus of the scientists. Now, as then, they tell us that the science is settled: all scientists agree, the same way they agreed in the past and failed miserably. Wake me up when something happens.

        When you have a science that has not been able to do a single accurate prediction in its entire history, you have to be humble. You cannot demand for everybody to blindly believe you.

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      • Sybille, you are right that the media exaggerates, but the scientists have also done 50 years of failed apocalyptic predictions. See that:

        https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-failed-eco-pocalyptic-predictions

        Read every story and you will be that many of these stories come from scientists (szopen, this is for you too).

        Sybille, science is not infallible, science is made by human beings. In addition, in our times, much of today’s science is corrupted and only serves the organizations that fund them. This is a topic for another debate.

        In addition, climate science is in its infancy. The models have failed once and again. See for example:

        https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo3031?foxtrotcallback=true

        “Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London and one of the study’s authors, has admitted that his previous predictions had been wrong.”

        https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/we-were-wrong-worst-effects-of-climate-change-can-be-avoided-say-scientists-k9p5hg5l0

        “And now, in 2020, the arctic shield is nearly gone in summer, Greenland is melting heavily, the antarctic is beginning to melt and islands like Tuvalu are swallowed by the rising sea…”

        Of course, climate changes all the time: this is what climate does. But the theory of climate change claims a very specific kind of change, which I explain below:

        1) The average global temperature is going to increase. (Average means “in the entire planet”)
        2) This increase is caused by the CO2 produced by human activities
        3) This increase can be reverted or stopped by human actions.

        (I will left aside that these human actions are only the ones approved by the left (no nuclear energy, , thank you very much, but giving lots of money and power to international organization to progress towards a world government and for the left bureaucrats to decide what has to be produced or not).

        There is a 4) This change is not good for mankind. This is debatable because warm periods have been very good for mankind. But I will left this aside because I want to focus on the change of climate specifically.

        The theory of climate change (1+2+3) has not been proved. You cannot claim any climate data as evidence of 1+2+3. You cherry pick the data. The Artic ice is melting (but not the way the models predicted) while the Antarctic ice is growing, but we never hear about the Antarctic ice. What about Bangladesh under the waters? What about the 50 years of failed apocalyptic predictions I linked above? Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

        Modern physics started when the models of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton started doing ACCURATE PREDICTIONS 100% OF THE TIME. Imagine Kepler describing the movements of planets:

        – “I predict that the planets will have these positions 10 years from now”

        – 10 years later: Well, I failed spectacularly in all my predictions, but Venus seems to go in a direction that kind of seems what I predicted. Only in a part of its orbit, but there you have it. I am the man. So you have to believe my predictions for the next 10 years.

        – 10 years later: Well, I failed again, but believe me, I have the consensus of the scientists. By the way, you have to transform all your economy and give all the power to international organizations because my science is correct.

        You cannot be as arrogant when your models are so bad. You cannot cherry pick data and then tell that your model is good after your model is failing for decades and has been unable to produce A SINGLE ACCURATE PREDICTION.

        But don’t worry. Now is the time to act. Tomorrow will be too late. We have a window of 10 years. After 10 years, we will have another window of 10 years to act and, afterwards, it will be too late. Except that it won’t be.

        But this will be my last message. I have made my case and I get very tired and upset in Internet debates (due to health problems and my childhood history). I know there will be people that cannot be convinced because climate change is part of their identity (I am not talking about you or szopen: I really don’t know how you are). But the ones that can be convinced can read me and think and research themselves (and reach their own conclusions, that may be different from mine). So I achieved my goal. Peace.

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  12. “Climatologists” are modern day oracles, fine tuning their electronic prediction machines in ways that make them the most money (but not cynically!). The simple fact wrt “climate change” is that the data required cannot be collected reliably (what is the error bar for the average thermometer?), and the issue has been politicized completely. Truth is irrelevant, as evidenced by behavior.

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    • You are right that data cannot be collected reliably. For example, you can measure reliably the water level in a sea, because you have both measurement error, and the waves. However, despite those limitations, you can reliably conclude that water level has risen, with high certainty – because errors cannot be going only in a one way. It’s like measuring the height of your children. The human height changes during a day (you are a bit shorter by the evening). You may use slightly different instruments, you child may stand a little different, your hand may tremble. Yet, if you would measure someone’s height day by day, many times, even if you wouldn’t be able to say with a certainty what was the exact height of you child, you are able to say with almost absolute certainty whether it has grown or not – because uncertainty is filtered out by averaging dozens of measurements. Same with everything else: IQ measurements are not reliable, your IQ is not really a given number, but it may vary within some range. Yet you can compare average IQs of different populations or conclude whether there is IQ rise or not.

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